Israeli Unaccountability and Denial: Suppressing the Practice of Torture

by Stephen Lendman / February 23rd, 2010

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI)
“believes that torture and ill-treatment of any kind and under all
circumstances is incompatible with the moral values of democracy and
the rule of law.” Yet it’s systematically practiced by the Israeli
Police, General Security Service (GSS), Israeli Prison Service (IPS),
and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

In December 2009, PACTI published its latest report
titled, “Accountability Denied: The Absence of Investigation and
Punishment of Torture in Israel,” explaining “the many layers of
immunity that protect” the guilty, specifically the GSS, the focus of
this report.

Immunity insures that GSS interrogation torture and abuse complaints
never become criminal investigations, indictments, or legal hearings.
Israel’s State Attorney and Attorney General assure it “under a
systemic legal cloak” giving torturers “unrestricted protection.”

Since 2001, victims submitted over 600 torture complaints to
authorities. None were investigated – “the first step” before
indictments, prosecutions, and convictions. As a result, GSS
interrogators have blanket immunity to operate freely “behind closed
doors (making) torture an institutionalized method of interrogation in
Israel, enjoying the full backing of the legal system.” As in America,
torture is official Israeli policy.

Torture in Israeli Law: A Barrier of Loopholes

Israel’s Supreme Court ruling in Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. the Government of Israel et al.
(the HCJ Torture Petition) established the current legal basis, even
though international law prohibits it unequivocally, at all times,
under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions — a matter universally
binding even on non-signatory states. Israel, however, signed and
ratified the 1984 Convention against Torture. Yet no Israeli law
explicitly bans it, except for several provisions relating to torture,
including assault, abuse of defenseless persons, and the explicit
prohibition of force or threats by a public employee toward interrogees.                  More………………………

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